Wake up, progressives, and take what you can get

My fellow progressives: We must face facts. The Democratic Party currently holds practically the slimmest legislative majority possible. In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is clinging to her gavel by eight votes. Meanwhile, the Senate’s 50-50 split makes Chuck Schumer the majority leader only by way of Vice President Kamala Harris’ ability to break ties — ties which we can’t even achieve unless each and every Democrat votes in unison.

On what planet — in what imperfect world — does that sound like an environment conducive to the most ambitious progressive legislation in over half a century?

Why can’t we just vote in unison, you ask? Because Joe Manchin. Because our Senate “majority” includes an official representing a state, West Virginia, that voted for Donald Trump by 39 points last year. He can’t sell the sweeping spending bill that we want to his voters, and therefore cannot vote for it. That doesn’t make him an outcast, or even an outlier. It makes him a politician who knows his constituency.

This isn’t rocket science. Add in Arizona’s cryptic Senator Kyrsten Sinema — who doesn’t seem to know what she wants but certainly doesn’t want a $3.5 trillion bill — and we simply don’t have the numbers.

And when you don’t have the numbers, you don’t have the leverage. This isn’t the Blue Wave of 2008.